June 12, 2012
New Blood Keeps
it Fresh in Omaha
By Phil Stanton
word ‘parity’ has gotten overused in sports. But there is more
balance now than ever before in Division I college baseball.
There are two teams making their first
appearances in the 2012 College World Series, making eight in
the past six years.
The two party-crashers this season are Kent State
and Stony Brook, raising the total to 112 for programs which
have reached the College World Series. Both come from
non-traditional power conferences. The Golden Flashes are from
the Mid-American Conference, and a MAC school has not reached
Omaha since Eastern Michigan was national runner-up in 1976
(Kent State is the first team from Ohio to reach Omaha since
1970). The Seawolves are the first America East team to play in
In looking at the College World Series fields,
there have been numerous first-time participants over the past
13 seasons, and at least one new member each of the past four
From 1995-99, there was only one team able to
crack the Omaha club. Rice made its first of seven trips in
1997, going 0-2.
As we entered the new century, there were two
newbies for two straight years. In 2000, Louisiana-Lafayette and
San Jose State both made their debuts, with the Ragin’ Cajuns
going 2-2 and the Spartans falling twice. A year later, nearby
Nebraska was 0-2 and Tulane went 1-2 in their first visits to
Over the next five campaigns, just one
first-timer appeared in Omaha. The 2003 edition saw Southwest
Missouri State (now Missouri State) go 0-2.
There have been eight rookies to appear in the
College World Series over the past six seasons. UC Irvine (2-2)
and Louisville (0-2) made it in 2007. Two seasons later, another
pair arrived in Southern Miss (0-2) and Virginia (1-2). In the
past two tourneys, first-timers have had much success in their
first trip to Omaha. TCU went 3-2 in 2010, while Vanderbilt was
2-2 in 2011.
The last team to win a national championship in
its first trip to the College World Series was Minnesota in
We’ll see how Kent State and Stony Brook fare
this year. But there should continue to be fresh faces appearing
in the College World Series for years to come.
(photo courtesy of SBU Media